The Red Thread Promise provides All Terrain Wheelchairs (ATWs) for people with disabilities in Haiti and will set up a centrally located repair and maintenance station for the chairs. These ATWs are designed for the country's rough terrain, providing mobility for adults so they are better able to support their families and independence for children so they can go to school. Through this project we hope to reduce the stigma associated with disabled individuals in Haitian culture.
Even before the severe earthquake in 2010, people with disabilities lived marginalized lives because of their lack of mobility and the extreme social stigma of handicapped people in Haiti. Poor roads, unpaved areas, rough terrain and steep mountains were (and continue to be) constant obstacles to those with handicaps. Unfortunately, the majority of wheelchairs in Haiti are hospital-style, meant for smooth surfaces and controlled conditions---neither of which are common in Haiti.
These rugged ATWs feature a heavy-duty frame, mountain bike tires, specialized seat cushions, and other features that make this chair the perfect fit for the extreme conditions in Haiti. In addition to providing these chairs, we are setting up a centrally located repair and maintenance station where people can take their chairs to be fixed, extending the use of the chairs for years beyond their hospital-style counterparts, thus reducing the waste problem already present in Haiti.
These wheelchairs will significantly improve the standard of living and quality of life for adults and children alike. Recipients will have the increased ability to care for themselves, become more productive members of society and reduce the burden on their already struggling families. The repair & maintenance center will provide jobs, help fuel the country's struggling economy and reduce the amount of waste from broken and unusable wheelchairs tossed in the trash heaps on the side of the road.